Virginia lieutenant governor denies second sexual assault allegation

Virginia lieutenant governor denies second sexual assault allegation

A second woman has accused Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax of rape.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax addresses the media in response to Gov. Ralph Northam's statement on February 2. Watson says she was friends with Fairfax at Duke but they never had any romantic relationship, according to her lawyer.

"This doesn't change the blue direction of the state long-term, but this certainly complicates things for Democrats in the immediate future", said Virginia native Carolyn Fiddler, a top operative at the DailyKos website, a force in liberal politics nationally.

"The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible", former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe tweeted Friday.

"Much of the discussion has, rightfully, centered around who we are as Democrats as we continue to stand against racism and against sexual assault".

Norment said in a statement that he "cannot endorse or associate myself with every photo, entry, or word on each page" but drew a distinction between the controversy facing him and that of Northam and Herring, who admitted they appeared in blackface.

The fallout has been most intense for Northam, a former U.S. Army doctor whose medical school yearbook page was revealed to show a photo of one person in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume. Now Herring is struggling to shore up his political support amid calls for his resignation.

Mr Fairfax, 39, said in a statement to United States media: "I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation".

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But the group indicated they were withholding final judgment on Herring, widely seen as showing more honest contrition, while he continued efforts to mend fences with Virginia's political establishment.

The three men, all Democrats who ran on the same ticket during Virginia's last election in 2017, continued to largely avoid the public and news media on Thursday.

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax presides over a session of the state senate inside the capital building in dowtown Richmond, on February 4, 2019.

Although the Democratic Party has taken nearly a zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among its members in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly: If all three Democrats resign, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox would become governor.

Two days ago, on Wednesday, Tyson released a statement with her account of Fairfax's alleged assault, describing the 2004 incident in graphic detail and questioning how Fairfax could have believed the encounter was consensual.

Watson is the second woman to accuse Fairfax of sexual assault following Vanessa Tyson, a college professor who said that he forced her to perform oral sex in 2004 in a hotel room at the Democratic national Convention.

But Fairfax is just one of three top Virginia legislators embroiled in personal scandals. Herring had previously called on Northam to resign and came forward after rumors about the existence of a blackface photo of him began circulating at the Capitol.

Fiddler added, "What I do know is that if Ralph Northam is still governor, then that means we're still talking about this - and that (yearbook) picture is ready made for television and direct mail".

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